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Trampled By Turtles: Music Farm Friday Night

Photo: David McClister

Trampled by Turtles will be bringing their progressive bluegrass sextet to the Charleston Music Farm this Friday night. Here’s where they’ve been and a peek into their new album released in May, Life is Good on the Open Road. If you like progressive jam grass that’ll light a fire under your ass and then rock you slowly, don’t miss this show.Get your tickets here.

When Tom Petty died, the group of Minnesota friends got together to celebrate his life and music, which ended up igniting the new album, which is their first in four years. After returning from what was referred to as an indefinite hiatus, Trampled by Turtles rekindled their friendship and their controlled chaos to craft Life is Good on the Open Road.

The first track, “Kelly’s Bar”, proves they are right where they left off with an incredibly high tempo and perfect timing. “Blood In The Water” belongs in the same part of the catalog as “Kelly’s Bar” at an even quicker pace. One of the songs best built to transition into a live setting is “The Middle”. With a soaring fiddle from Ryan Young situated right in the middle, the band could go toward traditional bluegrass and pass solos around.

But don’t think it’s just fast pickin’ like most of their older stuff. Trampled by Turtles proves chaos can be brought to harmony. Eamonn McLain provides a cello that floats right above Erik Berry’s Mandolin in “We All Get Lonely.” The low and mid-tempo part of their new album is reminiscent of frontman David Simonett’s side project Dead Man Winter’s 2017 album Furnace. Check out Furnace on Spotify here.

The title track begins as a complete breath out, an exhale from holding onto love, friendship, and music. But in the last verse, Simonett sings “Life is good on the open road / We’re closer now than we’ll ever know / The light inside you comes and goes / But it never really goes out.” Like the little breath of air that might never leave your lungs, you’ll always hold onto something after a loss.

Trampled By Turtles developed a sound over the past 15 years that fits into no man’s land. It isn’t all bluegrass, it isn’t rock, or punk, or country; they play what they like and they play it fast. They envelop the celebration of self-pity like The Wood Brothers, the electricity of Greensky Bluegrass, and still keep somber country roots like Merle Haggard. Trampled by Turtles made progressive bluegrass mainstream.

Check out a stream of the new album Life is Good on the Open Road below. And get tickets to their show at the Music Farm this Friday night here.